Visa Inc. is joining the other three card brands in making signatures optional for many of its transactions beginning in April.
The card brand, which had credit card volume of $499 billion and debit volume of $388 billion in its fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, says in a blog post published Friday the rule change applies to all EMV contact or contactless chip-enabled merchants in North America for credit and debit transactions. Visa said in December that 55% of U.S. storefronts accepted EMV chip cards as of September, or 2.5 million merchant locations.
“Visa is committed to delivering secure, fast, and convenient payments at the point of sale,” said Dan Sanford, Visa vice president of consumer products, in the post. “Our focus is on continually evolving the market towards dynamic authentication methods such as EMV chip, as well as investing in emerging capabilities that leverage advanced analytics and biometrics. We believe making the signature requirement optional for EMV chip-enabled merchants is the responsible next step to enhance security and convenience at the point of sale.”
Mastercard Inc. in October was the first of the four major card brands to make signature authentication optional, followed by Discover Financial Services and American Express Co. in December. Their rule changes also apply beginning in April.
At the time of the other card-brand announcements, Visa said it supported multiple technologies “to bring speed, security and consumer convenience to the authentication and authorization process,” but did not address what its future plans might include.